A slip and fall injury case can be brought when injury results from dangerous or hazardous conditions on someone else’s property. These types of cases can involve both residential and commercial buildings, as well as shopping centers, parking lots, and hotels. Dangerous conditions inside a building include torn carpeting, abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, or a wet floor. Hazardous conditions outside a building include rain, ice and snow, even a hard-to-see pothole in the ground. Regardless of where they occur, all property or building owners have a certain level of responsibility to make sure an environment is safe.
A case from 1973 provides a nice introduction to the slip and fall law in Oklahoma with regard to a store or shopping center:
A storekeeper owes customers the duty to exercise ordinary care to keep aisles and other parts of the premises ordinarily used by customers in transacting business in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn customers of dangerous conditions upon the premises which are known, or which should reasonably be known to the storekeeper, but not to customers. [Citations omitted.] Knowledge of the dangerous condition will be imputed to the storekeeper if he knew of the dangerous condition, or if it existed for such time it was his duty to know of it, or if the condition was created by him, or by his employees acting within the scope of the employment. [Citations omitted.]
Williams v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 515 P.2d 223 (Okla. 1973).
It is important to note that the property owner is not always responsible for the accident. Just because someone is injured on another person’s property does not necessarily make the owner automatically responsible for the injuries. An owner generally has no duty to protect invitees from a dangerous condition that is open and obvious. However, if the property owner had reason to know that the dangerous condition would cause harm despite the invitee’s knowledge, the owner may be liable for the injury caused by the dangerous condition.
You should also know that, generally speaking, a property owner has no duty to make the premises safe for a trespasser, although the property owner does have a duty not to injure a trespasser by a willful, wanton, or intentional act that is known or reasonably should be known.
So what should you do if an unsafe condition has caused you to be hurt on someone else’s property? Besides being sure to seek medical attention for your injuries, you should document the condition of the property in a way that will show how or why it may have led to your injury. This is very important, because quite often the owner of the property responsible for your injury will try to repair or disguise the dangerous defect or other contributing factors. The owner may simply want to prevent the accident from happening again. Then again, he or she may also want to destroy the evidence of any potential liability.
If you have been injured in an Oklahoma slip and fall accident, you should contact us as soon as possible for legal representation. Our Oklahoma Slip and Fall attorneys have experience helping slip and fall victims receive just compensation for their injuries. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.